NERC-CIP-014-1 Keeping You Up at Night?

Chris Koetsier by Chris Koetsier | 08.19.2015

A recent neighborhood power outage reminded me of how dependent we are on our electricity grid. We are so accustomed to a reliable and continuous supply of electricity that we find ourselves flipping the light switch or trying to turn on the TV even during the occasional outage. Our dependence and reliance has become so significant that it is hard to imagine a severe widespread, potential coast to coast outage for days, a month or even a year.

L_UTLWPI_D_Utilities_finalAn incident, like the widely reported 19 minute long Metcalf substation shootout that knocked out 17 large transformers that power Silicon Valley on April 16, 2013, raised the awareness of the reality of potential attacks and their implications on one of our largest assets, the grid. A report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) highlights that a coordinated attack of as few as nine critical substations, making up only 1% of the substations in the United States, could potentially take the power grid offline for a year. As a result of the attack, the FERC issued an order for the non-profit North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop security standards for bulk transmission owners and operators resulting in the NERC-CIP-014-1 standard.

Securing your unique set of assets within the standards adequately to avoid potential fines of up to $1M a day, prevent millions of dollars in restoration costs or potential revenue loss can be a daunting task. And while many of the 55,000 substations in the United States are equipped with some form of security measure, many are not able to deter, detect, delay, assess and communicate to the levels desired by the standard. Protecting a wide range of differing assets requires a layered approach with a combination of scalable and sustainably integrated solutions.

Learn more about how to protect one of our nation’s most valuable assets, the powergrid in our whitepaper, as together, we become more and more reliant on it.